From the 13th century onwards the Guinigi family, who were rich merchants and a leading family of the town, concentrated their mansions between via Sant'Andrea and via Guinigi, which has preserved its medieval appearance practically intact.
A typical example of Romanesque-Gothic Lucca architecture, the compact group of buildings also expanded rapidly into the neighbouring streets.
The Torre Guinigi rises above via Sant'Andrea, crowned by holm oaks to symbolise rebirth. It was added by the family in the late 1300s, with the aim of giving a refined look one of the houses, in a period when numerous bell-towers were going up within the walls of Lucca, as were the towers, an emblem of prestige of the richest families.
The Tower was built in brick; its imposing bulk was lightened by mullioned three-light and four-light windows and decorated by coats of arms, cornices and plaques. Since then it has been one of the symbols of the town.
Today the Tower is owned by the Lucca town council and is a place not to be missed in the town: going up it is a must, and its top is one of the most fascinating points to stand in the shade of the holm oaks, admiring Lucca's little architectural jewels from above.